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What the Bible says about Loyalty to Christ
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Deuteronomy 23:9

Do we have any idea how dirty warfare is? Yet, even then, God required cleanliness among His people. Though we do not know the reason why God gave every regulation, we do understand the overall principle involved here. There is no doubt that religion draws those devoted to it together, but inevitably, a line of separation will be drawn between the faithful and the unfaithful. Under the Old Covenant, these lines were shown in physical terms.

To many, this might smack of a narrow exclusiveness, but there is a fundamental truth contained within these regulations. Religion does make a difference! God demands—for our good and for the outworking of His purpose—that there be absolute loyalty in the people whom He has cleansed through the blood of Jesus Christ. The loyalty is not merely seen in how one feels inwardly about certain things, but also is manifested outwardly in one's behavior—in how we relate to one another. A Christian must never step out of character, and he must not step aside from what he agreed to in making the covenant with God.

Every time we baptize a person, we make sure that we go through Luke 14 (beginning in verse 25)—where Christ essentially says, "Do I have your loyalty? Am I going to come before your father, mother, sister, brother, wife or husband? Are you willing to forsake all that you have for Me?" And we could add, "Are you willing to keep yourself uncontaminated and undefiled from contact with this world?"

This book of Deuteronomy shows that God's purpose can be worked out only if we are separated from the world around us to a fair degree. It is this separation that greatly aids in keeping us clean and unspotted. Know this, there are not "many ways to God." The people of the earth are not worshipping the same God in different guises and different names. The universalism of Catholicism has no part in God's plan. There is only one way. If there were many ways, each way would produce something different. God's way—His one way—reproduces Himself. Anybody who worshipsa false god will not reproduce in himself the image of the God of Creation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
New Covenant Priesthood (Part Two)

Luke 14:25-33

Christ could not have made our obligation any clearer, yet after receiving forgiveness, so many are forgetful and blasé about this responsibility! Family ties are the strongest of bonds, but our loyalty to Christ must supersede them. Beyond that, we must have the humble devotion to bear any burden He deems necessary for our good, the corporate good, or as a witness as part of this way. From our perspective, we can hardly deem God's gift to be free!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Five Teachings of Grace

Luke 14:25-33

Self-renunciation is an indispensable condition of following Christ, required for accurately counting the true cost of allegiance to Him. This condition of full and selfless service to God demands our hearts and minds, not just our bodies. In Luke 14:25-33, two parables and an exhortation urge us to forsake all that we have as a mandatory condition to becoming Christ's disciples. One main lesson is emphasized in these scriptures: the nature and influence of true discipleship.

Three times (verses 26, 27, 33) the commanding assertion is "cannot be My disciple." One who faithfully follows Christ must be prepared to hate—or more accurately, "love less"—his father, mother, wife, and children, as well as his own life. Loyalty to Jesus Christ and God the Father must be above even the highest loyalties of earthly love, that is, all our love of self must be subordinate to our love for God, who must be first in our life.

Martin G. Collins
Parables of Counting the Cost

Luke 14:26-27

At the beginning of our conversion, usually during counseling for baptism, we are asked to consider this passage seriously. Verses 26-27 are particularly important because loyalty to Christ is the issue in this context. Jesus makes it plain that, after entering into the New Covenant, our highest loyalty is to Him.

This is extremely important because the character of every life is determined by the loyalty that rules it. Peter confirms Jesus' words in Acts 5:29, saying, "We ought to obey God rather than men." He made this affirmation following Jesus' crucifixion. Persecution was imminent against the fledging church. However, we must understand that the world is always a threat against our loyalty to Christ. Life is a mixture of choices and compulsions, and many of our values have their source in the world. These values exert an ever-present pressure to conform to them, thus we must be aware.

The pressure to make moral choices is the furnace in which character is forged. Our compulsions to make choices come in two varieties: 1) forced, as by a gun to our temple that demands, "Do this or else," and 2) unforced, the pressure of old habits, perspectives, and attitudes engraved in our character, hangovers from our past. Thus, the past and the present both push at us to choose. What we choose determines where our loyalties lie and thus whether we commit idolatry. If we are not thinking carefully, idolatry is an easy sin to fall into.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The First Commandment

Acts 1:6-7

The message that the apostles took to the world was one of great hope—the hope of a Savior; the hope of a Redeemer; the hope of a King who will establish the government of God on earth, one of truth and justice. This government will feature Christians bearing rule under Him, if they remain loyal and overcome.

However, it had just not unfolded the way that they had expected it would. As time went on, conditions became worse, and sometimes it was difficult for them to maintain their loyalty to Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
How to Know We Love Christ

2 Timothy 2:1-4

So, my son, be strong in the grace that Christ Jesus gives. Everything that you have heard me teach in public you should in turn entrust to reliable men, who will be able to pass it on to others. Put up with your share of hardship as a loyal soldier in Christ's army. Remember: 1. That no soldier on active service gets himself entangled in business, or he will not please his commanding officer. (Phillips)

He shows us that a soldier's primary responsibility is to please the one who enlisted him in this service. He makes it clear that our primary responsibility, our loyalty, is to Jesus Christ—not a corporation, not even to an apostle of that corporation. Christ is the one who enlisted us. The man was merely used.

He goes on to say that a soldier must be single-minded. If he is not single-minded and gets himself involved in things other than carrying out the commands of his officer, then he will not be trustworthy. He will not be willing to endure hardship and put up with his share of suffering. He will not endure if he is deeply entangled in civilian pursuits or distracted by other concerns.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Endure as a Good Soldier

Hebrews 10:23

Holding fast is the first indication of faithfulness, but our understanding increases when we know the word translated "faithful" is the same word translated "faithfulness" in Galatians 5:22. It is understood as "reliable" or "trustworthy" rather than "fidelity" because it is being fully convicted of the truth of God that engenders loyalty and dependability. Faith in God corresponds to God's faithfulness. As with two tuning forks of the same pitch, when one is struck, the other responds by vibrating also. God's faithfulness should awaken faith in us, so we can respond in submissive obedience. If He is worth trusting, we should trust Him.

Since God is faithful, it has become our responsibility to imitate Him in being faithful by committing our lives to well doing.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness


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